SIMI VALLEY, Calif. - For many Southern California landmarks, times are tough. Earlier this week FOX 11 reported that the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library was in danger of closing, but the Library says it's not in danger of closing. So we wanted to clarify that story.
"We will reopen!" The words are from the Executive Director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library John Heubusch. The question is... when? The library temporarily closed about 10 days ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, its 150 employees are working.
They're working from home and plans are underway for a new history of the FBI exhibit when the huge facility reopens, whenever that might be.
There is much in the library to reflect on how Reagan might have framed the conversation about COVID-19 were he alive today. A couple of examples:
On April 3rd of 1982 speaking about the nation's economic recovery back, President Reagan said: "There is no cure, but we will find one with your help and your prayers."
On January 9th of 1974, then-California Governor Reagan said in a State of the State address: “No crisis is beyond our capacity to resolve.”
Now, in the midst of this COVID-19 public health crisis, Heubusch told FOX 11, “It’s impacted the Reagan Library like every other organization and facet of life in the world”
He says The National Archives, which operates the nation’s Presidential Libraries, ordered them all to close their doors because of the novel coronavirus outbreak. About the same time library officials sent out this letter asking for its donors to help out during the crisis by making donations. He says they’re losing a lot of money each week in admissions, gift shop buys and library membership purchases.
“It’s about $150,000 per week. We also get from people millions of dollars in donations every month so we’re able to sweat this out,” said Heubusch.
"Fortunately," he adds, "over the years we’ve put away a lot of money for a rainy day.” And, to Heubusch, "it's pouring, right?”
He says the library closure is temporary. He's encouraging donations large and small throughout this situation but the bottom-line he insists is that they will reopen when all of this is over.
In his farewell address, President Reagan referred to America as "the shining city upon the hill."
Right now, dozens of workers are looking forward to the day they can get back to that shining library on a Simi Valley hill.